UPDATED 12:00 EST / JUNE 16 2020


Cisco boosts Webex capacity and security to support remote workforces

Cisco Systems Inc. announced some key updates to its Webex communications and collaboration platform at its Cisco Live digital event today, adding more security and compliance tools and integrating it with Box Inc.’s cloud content management services.

Cisco said the updates are designed to meet the changing needs of its customers, which are increasingly relying on Webex for collaboration at a time when millions of people continue to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company counts numerous hospitals, federal governments and business among its Webex customers

“Even before the pandemic, Cisco was one of the world’s largest collaboration providers, supporting nearly half the world’s video conferencing,” said Javed Khan, vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Collaboration Group. “Now we’re supporting 3X the normal volumes.”

With COVID-19 showing no signs of abating any time soon, one key area of focus for Cisco Webex has been on providing customers with better ways to manage and secure their remote workforces. To that end, the company is adding more security capabilities to Webex, extending features such as data loss prevention retention, Legal Hold and eDiscovery to Webex Meetings. In addition, the company is adding AES 256 Bit encryption to the platform to help secure meeting data and provide better resistance against tampering.

The company said all that provides much more security for all meeting content from recordings and transcriptions to action items and highlights.

Cisco is also boosting the capacity of the Webex platform by three times its current level, so the platform can cope with the massive increase in adoption its seen since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And for companies that are actually looking to reopen and get back to work in their physical offices, Cisco is making it possible to deploy its voice assistant technology Webex Assistant instantly to conference room devices, even if the company has tens of thousands of devices. The idea is to minimize the number of times people touch the screen or touchpad in shared spaces.

Webex Assistant can also provide more insights about how physical meeting rooms are being used, to help influence both cleaning schedules and office layouts, the company said. In addition, it can help companies to better troubleshoot any issues that crop up, and analyze usage trends to highlight which services and devices they need to invest in, Cisco said.

The integration with Box, meanwhile, will help streamline workflows by adding an easy-to-use, built-in file sharing capability with one of the world’s most widely used content management services.

“In this new era of remote work, businesses around the globe are urgently looking for better tools to help employees seamlessly collaborate internally and with customers and partners from anywhere and on any device,” said Box Chief Executive Aaron Levie.

Another integration with Epic Systems Corp. is designed to make telehealth easier for both patients and medical professionals alike. COVID-19 has led to a big increase in the use of telehealth services, which allow physicians to provide care to patients while practicing social distancing. Providers will be able to use Webex Teams to conduct a video visit with a patient, review medical history and update clinical documentation, and patients won’t need to download software, the company said.

Along with the updates to Webex, Cisco today announced its new Cisco SecureX platform will become generally available on June 30.

Cisco SecureX is a cloud-native security platform that will be included with all Cisco Security products. It’s meant to simplify and enhance the way customers manage security.

One of the ways it does that is by unifying visibility into operational and threat metrics across an organization’s entire network, endpoints, cloud and applications. Cisco SecureX also enables administrators to automate workflows across all Cisco Security and third-party products to improve efficiency

In addition, the platform uses the Cisco Talos threat intelligence platform to automate threat hunting. Finally, Cisco SecureX offers a new threat response capability, enabling teams to quickly identify and remediate any threats that are found within minutes, mainly by correlating data from intelligence sources with network, email, cloud and endpoint telemetry.

Photo: Cisco

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